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Blizzard Bags

posted Dec 18, 2017, 3:38 AM by Brian Lynch

The Merrimack Valley School District is piloting the use of “Blizzard Bags” to determine if this learning option is a good fit for our students and teachers on days when we cannot attend school due to inclement weather. This winter, one day will be assigned as a Blizzard Bag day for the District.  Parents and students will be informed in advance of the day that will be a Blizzard Bag Day.

By engaging students in this type of learning via the Blizzard Bag during their K-12 experience, we are setting the stage for future success, as many colleges and corporations have online and extended learning. Our students’ first experience with this type of learning should not be at college and/or career.  We are confident that this will be a positive experience and one we can expand in future years beyond the one day.

Each building level is managing the use of this learning opportunity in a manner that aligns most effectively with typical teaching and learning.  Middle School students will be well informed of the learning expectations.  Assignments will be relevant and meaningful to the current curriculum being taught in classes.  Each assignment will should take an average of 25-35 minutes to complete for each course or content area. Students will access assignments via Google Classroom, which is a format all students are familiar with using, both at school and from home.  

For some courses, Art and PE for example, devising assignments that are current with what is occurring in the classroom will present more of a challenge.  Where appropriate, teachers may provide assignments that instead ask students to practice, research, or reflect upon various aspects of the discipline.

In addition to accessing assignments via Google Classroom, teachers will be available via the internet to provide support, as well.  Connecting with students online could mean that students and teachers are having a Google Chat conversation, a threaded Google Classroom discussion, a “backchannel” discussion (using various means...for example TodaysMeet), email communications or even a threaded email dialog. There is a wide array of possibilities in this realm, and teachers will inform students the best means of access and communication.

We are aware that not all students have access to technology at home.  Students who need paper copies of the assignments will be provided those in advance, and any support on those assignments will be provided upon the return to school, face to face.